The 2020 election has shown just how
profoundly education politics have shifted. For decades, Republicans used
education to demonstrate compassion and signal the sincerity of their commitment
to equal opportunity. Democrats used education to show that they were more
interested in offering a hand up than in handouts. Today, neither side is all that
concerned about assuaging the middle or signaling pragmatism. Education is now
playing an amped-up role in primary campaigns. In 2016, Donald Trump hammered
Jeb Bush with the Common Core. In 2020, Trump has energetically embraced school
vouchers and used them to draw a sharp contrast with Democrats. In the
Democratic primary, candidates have raced to one-up each other on free college,
loan forgiveness, and teacher pay. Whether Trump or a Democrat claims the White
House in 2020, it’s clear that the winner will be less inclined to compromise and
more likely to stick with the more partisan playbook. Welcome to education’s new normal. Do you think education will be a big issue in the 2020 election?
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